Ten Types of Argument: Aristotelian, Debate, Nestorian and More

In a world where everything you say is an argument, it is important to know what kind of argument you should use in different circumstances.

Ten Types of Argument

When forming an argument, whether in a debate or in an essay, there are many types of argument someone can use. Some of the following types of argument cover many types of arguments while others are very specific.

The Most Common Arguments

The first type of argument is the most basic. It has been taught in most English classes from the first time a student started writing papers. The Basic Formula, also known as the Aristotelian Order, includes an introduction, the body, and a conclusion.

A Narrative tells a story. Usually a narrative starts with the first incident, second incident, and so on. The story may have a conclusion of not. The story takes a position on an issue. Think about any movie or story you read. The author was trying to make a point.

Solving Problems

The Definition/Cause & Effect argument starts with an introduction. Then the problem is defined, its cause, its effect, and recommendations are made to solve the problem. If one fails to make recommendations, the argument falls apart.

Problem and Solution argument is just as it sounds. The argument starts with an introduction. Next, the problem is stated and then a solution is given. The problem and solution are then summed up in the conclusion.

Questions and Answers is also just as it sounds. Also known as the Dialogic Method, Question and Answer offers a question (Why don’t we find alternative to oil?) and then the question is answered, but other questions arise until the questions are sufficiently answered.

Compare and Contrast

Comparison and Contrast I (One-at-a-Time or Chunk-by-Chunk) begins with an introduction stating the subject o f the argument – for instance, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New York Giants. After the introduction, one would discuss the Steelers and their quarterback, running backs, receivers, etc. Then one would discuss the Giants and their quarterback, running backs, receivers, etc . Then finish with a conclusion.

With Comparison and Contrast II (Feature-by-Feature or Sequencing) the presenter would start with and introduction and then presenter the Giants and Steelers quarterbacks, then the Giants and Steelers running backs, and then the Giants and Steelers receivers, etc. And then end with a conclusion.


The next type, the Pro/Con, also known as the debate order has an introduction, then states a pro position, and conclusion. In the introduction, the states the issue, such as raising taxes. Then states why taxes should be raised and may offer why not raising taxes would be a bad idea. In the conclusion the issue and position are restated.

In a Commitment and Response argument, the presenter makes a promise and fulfills that promise. Think of politician: If you vote for me I will not raise taxes. Or a used car salesman: if you come to our lot, we will give you $20 to test drive a car.

The Nestorian Arrangement (Stronger, Weaker, Strongest) is often used in court case. The legal team presents strong evidence at first to get everyone’s attention and then the legal brings out many smaller pieces of evidence (“a mountain of evidence”), but, in the end, fires out the biggest piece of evidence so that the jury will remember that the most.

Look over these types of arguments and find would work best for you in an argument.